Bobcats CFO resigns

July 10, 2009

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Bobcats Sports & Entertainment Chief Financial Officer Michael Behrman has resigned.

Industry consultant Bill Duffy from Atlanta-based Aspire Group Inc. will serve as interim CFO. Duffy has been working with the organization in an advisory role for the past five months. Behrman spent four years with the NBA team was responsible for all financial operations for the NBA team and uptown arena.

“This was a difficult decision to make because I have invested so much of myself into helping the organization develop from an expansion franchise into a more established and mature business,” Behrman says in a press release. “I am appreciative of the dedicated and knowledgeable staff I had the pleasure of working with, and I know the team is headed in the right direction both on and off the court.” Behrman’s departure comes at a time when the Charlotte Bobcats are suffering from lagging attendance and financial losses.

Bobcats President Fred Whitfield told the Charlotte Business Journal in a recent interview that the team’s season ticket base is at 5,500, which is 26 percent below the Bobcat’s estimate last fall. Industry experts estimate the team loses $30 million to $40 million annually. Whitfield declined to discuss specific numbers but acknowledges the team is running deficits.

Attendance, TV ratings and sponsorship continue to rank among the lowest in the league. Attendance for the 2008-09 season was 14,574 fans per game. The NBA average was 17,520. Meanwhile, Bobcats owner Robert Johnson is aggressively searching for new investors in the team, tapping his longtime investment banker to seek prospective buyers. Johnson has been candid about his desire to cut his stake in the franchise. He controls 70 percent of the team. Johnson paid $300 million for the expansion franchise in 2003.

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